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Anger and defiance in Taiji after 'Cove' wins Oscar

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Ah, negative PR on a global scale--the Japanese worst nightmare. Let Taiji continue the hunt, but with one important restriction:

No government subsidies--kill only enough for the market.

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Ah, negative PR on a global scale--the Japanese worst nightmare. Let Taiji continue the hunt, but with one important restriction:

Why should the Japanese people be worried about what a bunch of rustics in a hole like Taiji do? If foreigners cannot clearly discern them from the common Japanese, the Japanese people shouldn't bother dealing with foreigners of such low intelligence who are probably feeling sorry for the dolphins while they think about whether it's going to be beef or pork for tonight's dinner.

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The dolphins are angry too when their family and friends are massacred for food.

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2010, doesn't look like a very popular year for Japan on a global scale. Toyota, The cove, Futenma, possible Blue Fin fishing ban, whale "research", corruption and arrest of politicians. It seems the world is being informed of the activities of Japan, first hand...

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it always amazes me how these culture police (aka ojisan) find it so hard to evolve and change from their old fashioned out of date culture. I feel for the young Japanese who have to adhere to their BS...

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It seems like the effects of methyl-mecury poisoning are starting to show - loss of intelligence! I don't know anywhere in the world that can justify the eating of something that contains dangerous levels of heavy metal contaminants ... except Taiji. Let them keep up the hunt, it'll do wonders for Japan's (negative, third-world) image around the world!

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while I see no problem with eating whale or dolphins in a sustainable way, killing them should still be done with the minimum of distress to the dolphins and what happens in Taiji is barbaric. The rest of the world has generally accepted that killing animals for food should be done in a humane way. Why doesn't the Japanese government simply create a law that killing dolphins must be done in a humane way? Again the Japanese government are the ones that allow this "BS" to continue.

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I just want to say that I love dolphins and I agree that the killings in Taiji is not pleasant to watch. However, I do respect the vast amount of different cultures in our world. This is something the fisherman in Taiji have done for centuries. Is it wrong? that would depend on every individual's own culture and beliefs. It should stay an opinion of each individual and not an attack on certain culture by another country or culture.

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What is done taiji is not humane at all. Rather than looking at this as to eat whale or dolphin look at it as an animal rights issue.

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Nuckin' is on the money, the meat is laced with the residue of Japan's industrial glory, and to alarming levels. Go to Minamata in Kyushu and ask the locals their take on eating fish/sea creatures with added stuff. For this reason alone they shouldn't be slaughtering, but stubborn defiant pride is a nasty human quality.

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What is done taiji is not humane at all.

And who defines humane? Do the fisherman in Taiji say thier killings are inhumane? It's what I said in my earlier post, it depends on one's own cultre and beliefs. How can you force 'your beliefs' on a culture completely different from your own. They have been doing this for centuries, utilizing the same method of killing. And, how do you kill in a humane way?

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I had this conversation with some Japanese coworkers not too long ago...Middle aged men. God, what an effort that was. I was willing to meet halfway and say that at least in my home country there are enough people willing to speak out on animal abuses (and take action), when they happen, but what about the prevailing silence in Japan? Mr. Spock would've had a brain hemorrhage with amount of bizarre logic that was being thrown my way. If it doesn't make sense on multiple levels (mercury poisoning/inhumane killing of an intelligent animal), then its ridiculous to allow it to continue. Japan's core culture is not going to be brought to its knees because a village can't hack a bunch of dolphins to death anymore.

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its grisly portrayal of dolphin hunting.

The truth is a bitter pill to swallow. They even admit the dolphins are killed in secret because of the grisly nature.

One point missing from the self-pitying plea is, dolphin meat has 10-20 times the amount of mercury that the Japanese health authorities consider safe and they know this, but still continue to promote the sale of the poisoned meat, which is usually falsely labeled as whale meat. Japan needs to step out of the dark ages and stop this barbaric practice and stop poisoning their children. The effects of hundreds of years of toxic eating practices are very clear within Japanese society. People's teeth, atopy, autism, minor and major birth defects can all be linked to ingestion of heavy metals from seafood, but nobody will stand up and say it.
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When killing is required for the survival/satisfaction of the empowered, sentients should be killed with minimum suffering, great regret, deep gratitude for their sacrifice; not in an orgy of thrill killing leaving the sentient gasping, flapping, twitching in agony. Empower thrill killing & debase yourselves.

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The oscars are stupid anyway. Dai Nippon!

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The truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

Exactly! The truth is that we humans have tough choices to make and must take responsibility in some way or form. I myself have stopped going to sea parks in an effort to curtail the need for dolphins and whales at those places. You stop the need, you end the killing.

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good one hottie !!People look in your own backyards before throwing stones at a little community that is totally non representative of the general population.

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What is the measure of intelligence? I mean, how is that different than the so called "stupid" dolphins and whales that get themselves mysteriously beached on shores all over the world? Even though a lot of dogooders try to push those said dolphins and whales back to see, they still end up beaching themselves somehow. Seems like a stupid thing to do to me.

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Again, most people here don't seem to have seen the movie. This is not a centuries old tradition. What? Dolphins were sold to Marineland back in 1670? As far as the meat is concerned: you don't ever know you are eating dolphin meat. It is added to whale meat and sold as whale meat. This is the deception.

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Let's see: "local councilman Hisato Ryono said there is nothing to hide" and "The film team broke into a restricted area to set up cameras that captured the slaughter".

If there is nothing to hide, why do the Taiji authorities do everything in their power to prevent the slaughter being filmed? Why do they instruct the police to illegally harass journalists trying to report on the matter? These are questions the Japanese media should be asking, but won't. After all, it doesn't do to "cause trouble" in this country.

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If Taiji cultivated their own 'livestock' of dolphins, would it really have changed anything? I'm sure the movie would still have been made and other cultures would be criticizing Taiji.

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once again that magic word 'culture' has been used... this absolves anybody and everybody from any responsibility however dated the actions may be...

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I mean, how is that different than the so called "stupid" dolphins and whales that get themselves mysteriously beached on shores all over the world? Even though a lot of dogooders try to push those said dolphins and whales back to see, they still end up beaching themselves somehow.

To be fair, thats a matter of instinctual drive and the animal's natural "radar", not intelligence. Occasionally, marine mammals have a natural compulsion to head in a certain direction, and it overrides all other senses. Just wanted to point that out.

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Karma. When they start getting sick maybe they'll see the light? Doubt it. If they wnat to use "tradition" as an excuse, fine. Get rid of the boats you use, the gas, the electricity and go back to your "traditional" methods.

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I am not going to take a side on if killings dolphins is ok or not. BUT you can not use the argument that eating dolphins ruins your helth etc because Japanese live longer on average than Westerners.

I have lived in Japan a long time and have never seen dolphin meat in an eatery or a butcher shop. I have seen whale though. Do they really eat dolphins? Maybe a local thing?

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Oh, and to back up that little nugget further: One might argue that this "override of sense" proves a lack of intelligence when a whale continually beaches itself. But it does not. It's simply compulsion. We suffer from it too, and sometimes harm ourselves in the process.

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Lastly, I have lived in Japan a long time and have never seen dolphin meat in an eatery or a butcher shop. I have seen whale though. Do they really eat dolphins? Maybe a local thing?

The film claims that dolphin meat is sometimes advertised as whale meat, due to mercury testing on certain products.

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Remember that being critical of japans CULTURE is japan bashing. If its been done for centuries then it means its okay to still do it ! You got that?

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Must be a good documentary, but again this is from only one side. I wonder if this documentary was made with an objective view on both side?

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I wonder if this documentary was made with an objective view on both side?

I wonder how objective they are when stabbing animals too

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Killing animals to eat. Outrageous!

A human rights documentary would be so much more interesting.

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Must be a good documentary, but again this is from only one side. I wonder if this documentary was made with an objective view on both side?

Not in the slightest, but its an incredibly well made documentary, in the pure definition of the term "documentary" (they're meant to be biased). That said, I'm for stopping the dolphin slaughter if it's poisonous.

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I have no problem with killing animals to eat them as long as they follow the quota and kill them in a manner that is accepted by law.

bringing them to the side and bashing skulls with rocks is not acceptable.

On objectivity, the hunters are not objective, why should the movie be?

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after this, Japan will also consider dolphin research hunting...

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Wow the word CULTURE is a good word to use to justify anything from killing whales and dolphins to family honor killings to wearing head to toe garments to hide yourself from the world!!!! Too bad it isn't the dolphins culture to start their own slaughter on humans in a little town called Taiji!!!

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“It is important to respect and understand regional food cultures, which are based on traditions with long histories.”

Doesn't justify that you don't need to change.

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As easy as it may be for me to work myself up into a self-righteous lather over the killing of dolphins for food, I simply can't.

It takes all kinds to make the world go round, and quite frankly, it'd be a little too boring if everyone ete exactly what I ate. As long as the dolphins aren't being hunted to extinction, I don't have a major problem with Taiji.

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good one ratpack...culture is used to justify so many things in Japanese society....sorry somethings are just wrong no matter which culture....

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Debucho - I have lived in Japan a long time and have never seen dolphin meat in an eatery or a butcher shop. I have seen whale though. Do they really eat dolphins? Maybe a local thing?

You have not seen dolphin meat because it is sold as whale meat. Many izakaya chains offer whale meat on their menus, however, it is more likely to be mercury tainted dolphin meat.

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diggerdog -- silly post. Just because something has been part of Japanese culture for centuries does not make it right, and critisizing it does not mean you are Japan bashing. No, it is recognizing that all cultures have room for improvement/change, even Japan. Got that?

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Japanese government officials defended the fishermen’s right to hunt dolphins and called the film unbalanced.

Good stuff there Japan, way to show you're a forward thinking international country. Many country tribes practiced cannibalism right upto the 1940's even.

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the so called "stupid" dolphins and whales that get themselves mysteriously beached on shores all over the world

Many of the whales and dolphins that beach themselves are found to be suffering from some terminal illness, or parasites that destroy their sense of balance, or naval sonar that destroys their sense of direction. They're only 'stupid' if if all the humans lying on hospital beds instead of getting up and living useful lives are stupid.

The word 'stupid' should be reserved for use to describe the people who say the whales and dolphins are stupid just because they don't understand them. The people who say it's OK to hack animals to pieces in a frenzy, just so long as 'they're not endangered' are beyond stupid.

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attacking foreign culture is fine. can't give you any valid examples though

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But culture is culture. Believe me, I pray that the the dolphin killings in Taiji would stop. But who is it for me to critize what they have been doing for centuries? Who says it is not right? Why is it not right and by who's standards is it not right? Other people from all races have the right to thier opinions, but no one should have the right to critize. I'm in no way trying to change anybody's opinion, however I do not understand where the justification is on telling any country, or culture, what is humane and what is not humane and what is used as a baseline deciding on what is humane/acceptable and not.

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diggerdog -- silly post. Just because something has been part of Japanese culture for centuries does not make it right, and critisizing it does not mean you are Japan bashing. No, it is recognizing that all cultures have room for improvement/change, even Japan. Got that?

Because you think YOUR moral on what animal to kill is higher than anyone elses?

Moderator: Stay on topic please. Posts should refer to "The Cove."

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The people who say it's OK to hack animals to pieces in a frenzy, just so long as 'they're not endangered' are beyond stupid.

Killing and eatign animals is commonly acceptable among the human race, even if the animals are cute. I am going to assume your objection is to the "in a frenzy" part, alluding to the manner in which they are killed?

Just because dolphins are cute they get extra protection? I do not understand this logic.

Moderator: Readers, the subject is the Taiji dolphin slaughter and "The Cove." References to other animals are not relevant.

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I am going to assume your objection is to the "in a frenzy" part, alluding to the manner in which they are killed?

You assume partly right. As a vegetarian I'm not happy with any animal being killed for food; as an animal lover who understands that other people do want to eat meat, I'm not happy with animals being subjected to unnecessary suffering - whether it's in the way they're raised, the way they're treated or the way they're killed - and the dolphins at Taiji are subjected to terrible, inhumane suffering at the hands of inarticulate neanderthals waving boathooks.

'Oh but other animals get killed for food too' is no excuse.

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The film claims that Dolphins are as intelligent as humans (I tend to agree there), that the method of slaughter is barbaric (I also agree) and that the meat is toxic (pretty much a fact).

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Taiji should take this in its stride. Hollywood is much too political in terms of who it chooses to praise. During the Bush Administration, Micheal Moore skewering GW was acceptable and politically correct when viewed through the rose-colored glasses of Hollywood (and I am definitely not a fan of Bush). However, now Obama is in power, war fiction (The Hurt Locker) is cool. Indeed, if people want to praise the fiction that is "The Hurt Locker" as a realistic portrayal of war, I suggest they catch the next flight to Baghdad for a bit of reality check. However, I digress....

Who really cares what a group of tree-hugging hippies think about the local traditions of Japan. Moreover, there is no linkage between these traditions (and you have to remember this is probably a form of coastal whaling under international treaty) and the acts of barbarism that Japan is carrying out in Antartica under the guise of research.

Indeed, as somebody pointed out above, tarring all Japanese with the same brush regarding this issue and highlighting any linkage between this and whaling just shows the ignorance of those people who are pointing the finger at Japan.

Then again, Taiji might seek to profit from all the free publicity. Other regions of the world have whale watching tours. What about attracting people to Japan for the opportunity to shank Flipper? Such practices might be morally unpalatable, however, who gave a cabal of American documentary film makers the right to pass judgment on other cultures?

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Taiji is a very very small town, killing dolphins as food for hundreds of years. Why is a big country now making such a biggest fuss about the smallest town's matter? I think there are other bigger and more serious problems that should be stopped. I don't think they stop it by any pressure the movie made.

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"Like most residents of Taiji, the dolphin trainers repeatedly avoided talking to a foreign reporter—one young woman ran away when asked her opinion."

Nah... nothing to hide; just run away screaming and wonder why foreign people and cultures can't 'understand' you. Oh, and don't forget to hide everything with tarps and not allow anyone access!

Sadly, the people of Taiji are just going to take their frustration out on the dolphins. After paying 2000 yen to ride around and play with one you can pay an extra 5000 to gut it yourself and take some 'whale sashimi' home.

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As they say in "The Cove"... it's not really culture, it's just being stubborn and saying "you white men can't tell us what to do... we don't care about what the rest of the world thinks..."

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Of note, whaling (which is relevant because "The Cove" refers to dolphins as being whales) has been practised for many centuries in many other countries. I'd suggest that countries like the UK have even longer traditions because they had better boats than the Japanese historically...

That said; they seem to have had no issues abandoning whaling (which I use interchangeably with dolphin hunting as that's how "The Cove" does it.)

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smithinjapan: Sadly, the people of Taiji are just going to take their frustration out on the dolphins.

Speaking like the judge over Japan that you are, ARE Taiji going to disrespect dolphins now?

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The Western love of dolphin may be a result of Western culture.

Dolphin are said to use a form of language, and Western culture is said to be "logocentric" (that is to say places a great importance upon language speaking, or identifies with language speakers).

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we don't care about what the rest of the world thinks...

I suppose that's why the Taiji Fishermans Association demanded that the showing of The Cove planned by Rikkyo University on the 6th of this month be cancelled.

(in Japanese) http://sankei.jp.msn.com/entertainments/entertainers/100302/tnr1003022115015-n1.htm

作品上映は「名誉棄損に当たる」として、立教大側に対して強く抗議・警告した。

(Taiji Fishermans Association) protested strongly and warned the university that showing the film would 'constitute libel'.

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This will all blow over in the next news cycle and they'll be back to eating dolphin meat as usual....

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fuss about the smallest town's matter?

Dolphins don't belong to them or anyone. They are killing what's dear to most of the world. Dolphins pass bu all other nations, before they get slaughtered in Taiji.

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Human beings cannot hide behind arguments like "it is culture" if there are clear issued presented by behavior.

If the people of this community do not like global outrage for their behavior then so be it. It is a consequence they must live with.

Now in a time where this practice was the sole option for feeding the community, then it is understandable why the behavior would be retained. But in modern times many cultures have turned to symbolic representations of traditional behavior that preserve their heritage while being more compliant with modern standards.

Added to this is the clear danger of mercury poisoning that the people who insist upon this behavior risk for themselves and their children. Self destructive behavior is foolish and should be changed.

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Taiji Fishermans Association) protested strongly and warned the university that showing the film would 'constitute libel'

The fisherman are determined to keep this from other Japanese. At several confrontations with Mr. O'Barry they have said that other Japanese have no right to know what they do. In a sense they do feel somewhat separated from other regions of the country.

There are different food traditions within Japan

The problem is that the meat is toxic, and yet they want the right to sell it labeled as whale meat.

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...what they felt were one-sided articles and gory pictures shown out of context

Yeah, it would be pretty hard to show this situation in a positive light.

What really annoys me most is the fact that they had mercury-tainted meat on school lunch menus !! Animal-rights issue aside, that is ... just wrong.

Food is a kind of religion in Japan, and like the worst religious fanatics, the food lobbyists and MAFF back up their claims with illogical arguments and re-interpretations of the rules to suit their aims.

Tradition ? .... (pah) It's all about making money.

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Japan with all its ranting about "tradition" and "culture" is sickening. Get over it! The immense cruelty and the mercury issue should be enough to make any sane person well up with rage.

While these kind of matters do not get tackled we will continue to live in an unjust and cruel world. Of course we cannot create a "perfect" world but at least we can try.

Praise to these wonderful people who took the initiative, and the risk, to film this documentary. I have only admiration for them, unlike the naysayers who sit at home never doing one thing to help any cause.

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I didn't enjoy the film... I also don't care if fishermen in Taiji are killing Dolphins.

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Japan lives in denial because it doesn`t attemp to change anything.

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Until such time as whaling is banned internationally (specifically coastal whaling undertaken as a cultural behavior), the arguments put forward by the Cove are little more than one cultural group (Americans) trying to project their cultural values on another cultural group (fisherman in the boonies of Japan). Moreover, should coastal whaling be banned? Although it could be argued that Japan is manipulating the spirit of the law in slaughtering dolphins, any move to ban such practices might have repercussions such as preventing native peoples in the Arctic Circle from whaling.

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I have lived in Japan a long time and have never seen dolphin meat in an eatery or a butcher shop. I have seen whale though. Do they really eat dolphins? Maybe a local thing?

Yes they do actually eat dolphin. No it's not always labeled as whale. You can, in fact, purchase いるか / イルカ / Flipper in the grocery stores of some areas. My wife has family in Izu. I won't say exactly where but oftentimes we are given "fresh" dolphin and squid meat as a gift when we visit.

As it was offered to me I accepted a bite and it's not bad. I agree with the statements on toxicity and inhumanity of it all. "culture" is a lame excuse. Just wanted to let everyone know, not far from Shizuoka city, and probably in the city for that matter, you can buy this meat easily.

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They should however stop using the excuse "It`s our culture" to do whatever they want. That goes for any country.

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I suppose that dolphin hunting may have happened for a long time, but it hasn't happened with motorized boats for hundreds of years. How about going back to the old ways if you want to continue the old traditions?

There are similar problems with natives in various places. I know up north in Alaska and Canada that the natives have subsistence hunting rights that allow them to kill protected species because that was part of their traditions. Fine - just get off your snowmobile and put away your semi-automatic rifles and then you can kill as many as you like. The problem is that people want the privilege of the old traditions but want to have new technology at the same time. That technology is leading to the disappearance of some species.

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Anyway, Japan will soon have to learn that just labelling all criticism as "Japan bashing" or "racism" won't do anymore. Just covering all freaky things up under the label "culture" is a thing of the past too.

I say get these kind of things in the news all over the world. Let people know that the is NOT Japanese culture to start with, and that it is barbaric. We will see how Japan will react under such bad publicity.

Secondly, I think the Japanese media have to get their act together. Why does it take a foreign team to expose things like this? Is there nobody in this country brave enough to give some criticism on Japanese "customs"?

If so, Japan is doomed.

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"Is it your culture to correct all others?"

If it is, then according to Japanese rules you are not allowed to criticize it. So, what are you trying to do now? Criticize us?? But but but... "it is our culture" :P

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@pointofview-But it is thier culture. Why is it an excuse? They are not hiding behinde the word culture to do whatever they want. It is about doing something that they have been doing generations. It may not be what every country sees as the 'right' thing to be doing, but I said in an earlier post, who has the right to critize? And by who's standards is this not acceptable? What country/culture is the baseline for making such critisms about another culture, and who decides this will be the standing basis of what is right and not acceptable?

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you white men can't tell us what to do... we don't care about what the rest of the world thinks..."

Do you blame Japanese people? "The rest of the world??" "Global outrage?" Reality check-The rest of the world doesnt care-do you honestly think they care in China, India, Russia and Indonesia etc?

I think the Japanese are fed up with hypocritical westerners (not the rest of the world or global opinion) telling them their traditions or ways of making a living are unacceptable.

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sarcasm123: If so, Japan is doomed.

Yes you are right japan is doomed. This is big enough to rattle the whole world.

I seriously think this is things Hilary should really digest in.

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And by who's standards is this not acceptable?

From the fact that they are doing this hunt where no one can see it, I would say that it is even not acceptable in their own standards.

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Article seems biased in favor of the dolphin killers.

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sarcasm123: From the fact that they are doing this hunt where no one can see it, I would say that it is even not acceptable in their own standards.

That is sooo holding in court.

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the cultural practices argument just does not hold up any more.

Under Japanese reasoning, England, Russia and the US could resume commercial whaling. Afterall these cultures all have long running histories of whaling. There are songs, art work and entire communities that existed only to support this industry. If they all followed Japanese reasoning they could resume whaling and snub their noses and anyone who disagreed because their cultural rights would trump any rational thinking.

You can rationalize anything as "cultural" and as "preserving heritage" but the facts remain. You can simulate practices, as many many cultures do to preserve your heritage and not engage in barbaric activities.

One more thought. Just because your primative ancestors did something, does not mean it was right or should be preserved. Some behavior is barbaric and should be outlawed.

Moderator: All readers, please stay on topic and focus your comments on what is in the story. We ask that you refrain from comparisons to other animals.

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It comes down to basic logic. Something that doesn`t exist in this messed up world. Culture culture culture. Gimme a break. Culture is responsible for some wacky things.

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tkoind2

Nice.

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If dolphins weren't so pretty cute and cuddly, this documentary would of never been made.

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Badge213: If dolphins weren't so pretty cute and cuddly, this documentary would of never been made.

That is true. Everyone in US loves skipper.

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These people are bad to hurt the innocent dolphins >_<

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Of course, we must all remember the saying: Think globally, act locally. It's all fine and dandy to start throwing stones at those way over on the other side of the fence, but to do nothing about the travesties within your own backyard? That's another crime in itself. I am all for letting the Taiji know that they should tone down their killing of dolphins, or at least do it in a more humane way. But at the same time it would be hypocritical of me and everyone else to continue to allow sea parks all over the world to keep marine animals in their fish tanks as mere forms of entertainment. It is unnecessary and cruel, and a worldwide epidemic.

The word 'stupid' should be reserved for use to describe the people who say the whales and dolphins are stupid just because they don't understand them. The people who say it's OK to hack animals to pieces in a frenzy, just so long as 'they're not endangered' are beyond stupid.

Excellent point, cleo! To say that animals are stupid is wrong. Even cows are not stupid and should be treated more humanely when being butchered.

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>Of course, we must all remember the saying: Think globally, act locally. It's all fine and dandy to start throwing stones at those way over on the other side of the fence, but to do nothing about the travesties within your own backyard?

That is EXACTLY where Japan fails all the time: no criticism within the country. Only outward criticism. You can do anything here, just call it culture and you can get away with it.

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That is EXACTLY where Japan fails all the time: no criticism within the country. Only outward criticism. You can do anything here, just call it culture and you can get away with it.

sarcasm123, you are correct and that it is sad and terrible that this kind of failure and lack of action happens around the world. That is why I am saying that all countries, including Japan need to look at themselves and in their own backyards, sea parks, etc. We all need to make tough choices and stop cruelty to all living things. The world is full of good people, and it is sad that the few bad ones spoil it for the rest of the world's people.

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Regardless of cultural justifications, dolphin meat is poisoned with mercury and should not be consumed by anyone. Who in their right mind would willingly give mercury tainted food to their children in justification of their cultural rights? The Japanese, of course! It's just defiant stupidity!

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Kingrat: That is true. Everyone in US loves skipper.

you mean flipper?

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The Japanese, of course! It's just defiant stupidity!

Disillusioned, you mean the people in Taiji, right? Because the Japanese families I know don't even eat whale or dolphin meat. To say that all Japanese give it to their children is incorrect. Do you know any Japanese people personally who eat whale or dolphin meat?

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Yes, I do know many people who pride themselves in eating whale/dolphin meat. It was also used for school lunches for many years and the Jp Gov has plans to reintroduce it into school lunches. It is common knowledge among Japanese that dolphin meat is substituted for whale meat. However, I'm sure many Japanese are not aware of the dangers of eating mercury tainted whale/dolphin meat because the government has neglected to point that out to the public. Now that The Cove has exposed the cover up the Japanese people will just put it down as foreign propaganda. I have traveled extensively throughout Asia and the Japan has the highest number of deformities that I have seen. Terrible teeth, autism, kids born with no fingers, eyes, ears and limbs. Do you think this is just bad luck or is there a link between the heavy metals consumed in school lunches over the last half a century?

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Disillusioned, you mean the people in Taiji, right? Because the Japanese families I know don't even eat whale or dolphin meat. To say that all Japanese give it to their children is incorrect. Do you know any Japanese people personally who eat whale or dolphin meat?

It is on the lunch menu of the city I work at.. a city of 500,000 people.

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These people need to be told that Dolphins are NOT fish; they are intelligent mammals, almost as intelligent as primates, which include humans. Not everything that swims in water is fish. You were also killing your own people in ancient Japan over feudal laws. Would you continue doing that too to preserve your culture?!

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It was also used for school lunches for many years

Where? I've worked in the Japanese public school system for several years and have yet to come across anything looking or tasting anything remotely close to whale meat or dolphin meat. I've seen a lot of yakizakana on the menu, but no whale meat, (unless they've somehow disguised it by painting it pinkish red to look like salmon).

In any case, I do agree with you that killing whales and dolphins are unnecessary, but so is the other senseless killing of other animals. In fact, dolphins are made to be the "poster child" of cruelty because they are cute.

Of course, I understand that the dangers of eating mercury is real, just like the shrinking ozone problem is real. I guess that governments throughout the world don't act when something kills you over a long period of time, like eating oily foods, living in highly toxic areas, obesity, etc.

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One more thought. Just because your primative ancestors did something, does not mean it was right or should be preserved. Some behavior is barbaric and should be outlawed.

As stated, I do not approve of the way the Taiji fishermen conduct thier dolphin killings and I wish it would stop. But I still fail to see how 'others' can deem it barbaric and that it should be outlawed. I see your point in how it 'can' be barbaric, but your 'barbaric, is different from my 'barbaric, which is different from her 'barbaric', etc.

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tkoind: 'Some cultural traditions are barbaric and should be forgotten'

Couldn't agree more.

Hotbox08: "Where? I've worked in the Japanese public school system for several years and have yet to come across anything looking or tasting anything remotely close to whale meat or dolphin meat."

Dude, it's in school lunches all over the place. Not on a daily basis, but in some areas it is offered once in a while. Hell, it's even said so in a number of the threads on this subject! How can you question it?

One of the reasons the director stressed the importance of this documentary, and even came to Japan despite the fear of being arrested in Tokyo (for trespassing in the 'openness', according to the Mayor, in Taiji), was to talk about the dangers of ingesting such mercury tainted meats, and in particular pushing them on an unaware public (ie. school lunches, or with no warnings at the izakaya). These are facts, bud.

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Gurukun: "As stated, I do not approve of the way the Taiji fishermen conduct thier dolphin killings and I wish it would stop."

If you 'fail to see how OTHERS can deem it barbaric', why do you not approve and wish it would stop? You find it tasteful?

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Dude, it's in school lunches all over the place. Not on a daily basis, but in some areas it is offered once in a while. Hell, it's even said so in a number of the threads on this subject! How can you question it?

smithinjapan: Sorry, I guess it's because I never had a chance to work in Wakayama. I was stationed in Tokyo and Chiba schools for about 5 years, but never in those five years did I experience (and thank god I didn't) eating whale or dolphin meat. I guess if it isn't served in one area, doesn't mean it isn't served in another area. Thanks for clearing that up.

In any case, I agree with you that hunting dolphins and whale worldwide is bad. I also think that cruelty in all forms to all animals is bad and has often times been covered up by too many people. I guess this movie helps to bring that fact to light and everyone's awareness.

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KingRat: "Speaking like the judge over Japan that you are,"

Never pretended to be a judge of anything beyond my own opinions, though of course I do make inferences on the state of things, which clearly people like yourself need.

"ARE Taiji going to disrespect dolphins now?"

Newsflash: they've been doing that for some time, and hence the documentary, it's success, and the misdirected shame disguised as anger of the Taiji 'fishermen'. It's not 'judgement' when you present the facts and state your opinion or inferences on them.

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I hope all of you, your family, and friends, have seen The Cove? I recommend you do. I watched the documentary a few months ago, and one image that stays in my mind from it, is a scene near the dock in Taiji, where a couple of young kids, on their way back from school, are walking past a dolphin that has been hacked and fatally wounded. The dolpin is clearly in agonizing distress, but was simply left like that, blood flowing over the concrete floor, to die for over an hour. The kids didn't even bother looking. I suppose this just the culture people live in here ...

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Heffalump: "The kids didn't even bother looking. I suppose this just the culture people live in here ..."

Call it a metaphor of the state of Japan.

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They had it at a sushi restaurant once, so I ate it, just to not be "kuwazu-girai." It tasted like toiled tire rubber.

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The american angle of the situation leads me to have a double think about this...

1) People living in Taiji must find a more clean and less bloody way to kill dolphins....

2) American people should stop criticizing dolphin killers when their intentions is look for food... is not new the new.. do you know that USA forbidded Mexico to sell tuna meat because accidentally the fishermen kill dolphins?... and we did not need a documental to suffer that punishment...

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I heard that they filmed some of the stuff outside of Taiji but made it seem as though the whole thing took place in Taiji.

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My Japanese wife had no idea that Japanese people kill and eat dolphins. She also said it's none of her business to judge them based on their traditions. We live in Tokyo. Whale meat is not served in schools. You really have to look for it in supermarkets. Live and let live.

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The Japanese fishermen of Taiji, and other Japanese people, deny, and get angry, when others explain ecological realities to them. They are finding it hard now, there will be confusion and depression, but they will one day come to deeper understanding, and will, in the end, accept that this sort of behavior must end.

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I heard that they filmed some of the stuff outside of Taiji but made it seem as though the whole thing took place in Taiji.

You heard wrong. No such thing has happened.

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When people live in small city like Taiji and see footage of Taiji, they know it's Taiji. When they see footage that's not Taiji, they know it's not Taiji. Some locals said that some footage in the movie was not shot in Taiji. If you want to say they lied, that's your call. But please prove to me how you KNOW that no such thing happened. Were you there, Damien? Were you filming?

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When they see footage that's not Taiji, they know it's not Taiji.

Yeah, and if people in Taiji say they have never heard of what is supposedly happening just of their coast, they must be right! Right?

Wrong.

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Hotbox08 -

I sure as don't see other animals who are equally killed in brutal fashion, such as the Bengal tiger, having anybody develop a cause to fight for their survival. It's outright specieism.

I'm sorry, can you help? I googled and found lots of pages about the Bengal tiger being endangered and protected and all, and even a few about the problem of poaching, but I couldn't find a single page about how Bengal tigers are being rounded up into enclosed areas hidden by blue tarpaulins and legally stabbed to death in a killing frenzy in the name of tradition and food culture. Or left by the side of the road to bleed to death in agony while schoolchildren walk past. Could you give us the link, please? Thanks.

On a side note, Wiki tells us that in Project tiger, India relocated some 200,000 villagers to minimise human-tiger interaction. Maybe the villagers of Taiji could be relocated to minimise dolphin-human interaction. I suggest the South Pole (far inland, of course).

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@smithinjapan-My point was: Everybody, whether from this country or that country has a different definition of what constitutes a barbaric act. In some parts of the world, me stepping on a cockroach would be deemed barbaric. And Yes, I think it it is sad that the Taiji people kill the dolphins, but who gives me the right to critisize them for anything. I wasn't born in Taiji. I do not understand THIER traditions. But thier traditions are thiers, not the U.S., not Canada, not Africa, but Taiji's. There are other animals around the world that are being slaughtered on a yearly basis. I wish those would stop too.

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bicultural,

You know how I know that it's a lie? Because it's not in the interest of filmmakers to lie about something like that. Plus, the don't need to show somewhere else because this is mostly happening in Taiji. I've seen the movie, have you? Unless someone points out which scene is not filmed in Taiji, it's a lie, they are liers.

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If they are really so concerned about what other people think about their 'culture', why don't they make their own documentary about their dolphin killing and eating practices? The cove is just showing one-view of things. If they have nothing to hide, why are they being so defiant and defensive?

What I really don't get is why these people would continue to eat dolphin meat, knowing that it is toxic. It's not like there aren't other forms of protein available. Is dolphin meat really that delicious that they are unwilling to give it up for their health?

And as others have said, saying it's a centuries-old cultural tradition does not make it right. How long you have done something is irrelevant to whether you should continue doing that activity.

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do you know that USA forbidded Mexico to sell tuna meat because accidentally the fishermen kill dolphins?...

That to me sounds like very heroic.

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If the dolphins are so intelligent and advanced like some claim them to be, then why don't they just but Taijii on their list of places not to visit?

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Dolphins, in addition to being food, are also recognized in Taiji as crowd pleasers with their playful natures, leading to odd contrasts.

They serve dolphin meat while people watch the dolphin show. They enjoy dolphins by watching them and eating them at the same time. Talking about the odd contrasts.

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bicultural: "When people live in small city like Taiji and see footage of Taiji, they know it's Taiji. When they see footage that's not Taiji, they know it's not Taiji."

So why do they need to have the faces blocked out, and how did the mayor of Taiji himself appear in the movie? The onus is on you to prove it's not in Taiji, not other to prove the things you admit you've only HEARD are correct or not.

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dolphingirl: "If they are really so concerned about what other people think about their 'culture', why don't they make their own documentary about their dolphin killing and eating practices?"

I can just see it too! Exactly like the Bovine University promotional add in the Simpson's.

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Gurukun: " Everybody, whether from this country or that country has a different definition of what constitutes a barbaric act."

I of course know what you mean, but you present it in a rather poor fashion by saying you are set against something but that we cannot have have an opinion on it and/or speak out against it.

"There are other animals around the world that are being slaughtered on a yearly basis. I wish those would stop too. But like I said, I have no place telling/dictating what another country does and/or how they should kill these animals."

You're both correct and incorrect; these things do happen on a world-scale, and the seal hunt in Canada is another disgusting example of practices like in Taiji. The thing is, and where you're wrong, we DO have a right to voice our concerns, particular when, in Japan, the product of the slaughter is given to our children while we are unaware of the levels of toxic materials in said products. That is part of the reason for the documentary -- to make people aware. But no surprise the J-government is covering THAT up -- they are there for COMMERCIAL reasons (ie. to make money), regardless of whether it means your children growing up with nervous disorders or not. So, yes, we do very well have the right to say it's wrong.

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Seems to me that the world wouldn't be so up in arms, if only the people of Taiji would carry out their killing of dolphins in a quicker and more humane way, which I hope they soon realize (but I guess I'd be holding my breath over nothing).

As for the argument about mercury poisoning, yes, dolphins have been known to contain trace levels of mercury because they often eat fish such as king mackerel that contain the substance. Then again, there are other seafood that contains trace levels of mercury as well, including shrimp, tilapia, salmon, and sardines. This is why there have been cases of people getting it by eating raw fish and sushi.

Although it is possible to contract mercury poisoning from consuming these fish, the chances are still less than getting it through say working in a coal or gold mine, because believe it or not, you can breathe the stuff in as well. There have also been several incidents of laboratory accidents involving mercury where technicians have experienced mercury-related symptoms.

In addition, contrary to what one poster above said about Japanese people having crooked teeth and atopy (which is often tabbed as being a hereditary disease); these are NOT symptoms of mercury poisoning. You may suffer from "loss of teeth", but not "crooked teeth". Other symptoms of course are muscle weakness, kidney failure, skin discoloration, and insomnia.

In any case, while we have no right to tell cultures what they can or cannot eat, we have a right to monitor how they go about procuring said food.

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@smithinjapan-Yes. In my earlier posts, I did mention that everybody has a right to thier opinions and I would in no way try to change someones opinion. However, when there is no baseline for what is acceptable and what is not depending on what part of the world your from, people should not critiize. My opinion on the whole Taiji issue and the other animals that are slaughtered on a yearly basis is that it should stop. My point being is that I, and you have the right to give our opinions, but to critisize Taiji and other countries for what they have been doing for generations is taking it too far.

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You know how I know that it's a lie? Because it's not in the interest of filmmakers to lie about something like that

Surely you can't be serious.

Plus, the don't need to show somewhere else because this is mostly happening in Taiji.

And yet this article clearly explains that it is certainly not "mostly happening in Taiji". Taiji only takes 10% of the national annual limit of 19,000.

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In any case, while we have no right to tell cultures what they can or cannot eat, we have a right to monitor how they go about procuring said food.

That's just it; you have no right to do either.

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The notion that the fisherfolk of Taiji put out in their boats, as they have for hundreds of years, to hunt dolphin for food, and catch a few for the aquarium, is misguided. The local fishermen in the documentary are thuggish, aggressive, and mainly intent on ensuring that their activities remained secret, or at least out of sight. In the winter months, a small flotilla of boats regularly sets out to alarm and confuse dolphin, which end up being herded into a small cove. After selecting good, female specimens, for sale to aquariums such as Sea World in the America, they slaughter the rest, in an inhumane way, whilst keeping a few for their meat. The females dolphins, which end up stressed and being kept alive on medication, and dying prematurely in captivity, fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. This explains the animosity to all the attention in their activities from the outside world. The dolphin meat contains levels of toxic chemicals well in excess of regulated amounts, not merely ‘trace’ levels. This meat was, until recently (and thanks to The Cove) sold to children in schools in Taiji. This is going on in your backyard.

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As for the argument about mercury poisoning, yes, dolphins have been known to contain trace levels of mercury

Trace levels my eye.

the average levels of mercury and methyl mercury in the pilot whale meat bought in Taiji were 9.6 ppm and 5.9 ppm, respectively. Given that Japan's standards are 0.4 ppm and 0.3 ppm, respectively, these are extremely high levels

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090923f2.html

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Cleo is quite right. As a side note, the character for tai can be translated as ‘solid’, and ji, ‘ground’. Paradoxical, now that ground upon which the dolphin slayers stand is now looking decidedly blubbery. May they quake in their little white booties. For the times they are a’changin.

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Surely you can't be serious.

Why not? Who would believe anything they say, if they shot the movie in another place? Like the Midnight Express. This is not fictional, it's showing exactely what's happening at which place. Surely it's not in film makers interest to lie about this. They don't have to lie, it is happening.

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Gurukun

My point being is that I, and you have the right to give our opinions, but to critisize Taiji and other countries for what they have been doing for generations is taking it too far.

Absolutely not. Of course you have the right to criticize. Let's not hide behind the cultural sensitivity card here. Most Japanese would think the same about the barbarity of this and come from the same cultural background.

But let's step back. The makers of the documentary didn't set out to criticize the people of Taiji. They set out to expose them. Now they are afraid the people of Japan will see this and criticize the people of Taiji for being barbaric by doing what they have done for generations.

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Politically Current = Politically Correct :-)

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Taiji-ans are stuck in a rhetorical "allegory of the cave" Im glad that I had better upbringing and that I was able to grow up out of an allegorical cave. I haven't seen the movie as it never showed in my town, but I can tell when something is not right, and now that this movie has been showing around the entire world its up to the world to decide what they think is right or wrong, and I think that the 3,500 villagers of Taiji, and their government (that has bigger problems to worry about) have a dwindling platform to stand upon in their defense. History shows that traditions are not enough to withstand the pressures of the modern world, good or bad. Sure they could continue their Rhetorical traditions and continue to isolate themselves but in the name of what? Rhetoric and tradition? talk about a society heading in the wrong direction, a primitive sub culture of Japan thats angry that the rest of the world doesn't agree with their rituals, and their answer to all this is to cut their noses to spite their faces and head back into the "allegorical cave"

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This offering from the Asahi Shinbun today – “Tokiya Nitta, a lecturer at the School of Marine Science and Technology at Tokai University who has studied the history of dolphin hunting along the Izu Peninsula of Shizuoka Prefecture, said the movie could strengthen the opinions of opponents of the practice. "In Japan, there is a history of hunting the dolphins with feelings of gratitude and respect because it helped the Japanese when they were faced with famine because of the war," Nitta said. "However, foreigners appear to only focus on the cruel reality of the hunt."” Dead right about the strengthening opinions. Rubbish about feelings of gratitude and respect.

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Good to see that most posters agree that cruel acts to animals such as these barbaric killing of dolphins and whales, and their confinement in marine parks is wrong and should be stopped. I'm sure it will serve as a notice to all other nations doing these types of acts to quit their agendas as well.

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cleo: "the average levels of mercury and methyl mercury in the pilot whale meat bought in Taiji were 9.6 ppm and 5.9 ppm, respectively. Given that Japan's standards are 0.4 ppm and 0.3 ppm, respectively, these are extremely high levels"

And yet the mayor of Taiji claims that these are not scientific facts, and they need to analyze things first before jumping (as he claims the film does) to 'unscientific' conclusions. The hilarity! I have no doubt if it were up to him he would ask to quote a paper from one of the 'fishermen doctors'.

Yet all this, which is part of the point of the documentary, seems lost on the Taiji public (if they know anything of it) completely; they see it as a witch-hunt on their culture instead of a warning about the toxins in the meat, which they are exporting and feeding to others as well as themselves.

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They don't have to lie, it is happening.

And what of you qualifying this with "it's mostly happening at Taiji" then (which is apparently quite wrong)?

So they don't have to lie because it's happening mostly at Taiji . . . except that it's not happening mostly at Taiji? Does not compute.

Perhaps they didn't engage in 'creative editing' but the idea that they would have no use for it (in drawing attention to one of the smaller operations) is laughable. I suspect they did just and I suspect they have no qualms about having done so, now that they've secured an Oscar.

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Here's what I say they do to end the whole affair:

1) the Mayor opens 'the cove' to the public, so they can view the slaughter in its full. If they don't want to, of course they don't have to. Simple as that.

2) the mercury level of a slaughtered dolphin is checked, in full view of camera, and processed. Regardless of the outcome, and the fishermen must be told of the levels, the fishermen must feed it, in front of camera, to both themselves and their children, and grandchildren -- as much as any regular customer or school lunch child would ingest. If they refuse, or are found to spit it out or what have you, the slaughter is stopped. If the ALL eat it up with relish, then they continue with no criticism. Sounds fair enough to me.

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Now that The Cove has won the Oscar and will be shown on a wider scale, I can only hope that the Japanese people, including those in Taiji, will come to their senses and stop the slaughter. Well sending dolphins and Orcas to aquariums from Taiji for obscene profits is just as morally reprehensible. Culture is not self justifying, or shouldn't be.

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Now that The Cove has been revealed to the world with a well-deserved Oscar, I hope the people of Japan, including those in Taiji, will come to their senses and stop the slaughter and sale of dolphins and orcas. Many other cultural practices were stopped when their immorality or lack of conservation was perceived...that's why whaling was outlawed.

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Morality aside--I can't understand why people would allow their children to be fed mercury-laced dolphin meat. That's worse than immoral--it's obscene. ...Killing your own children. C'mon, you good Japanese people, wake up!

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Smithinjapan try to look at other countries than your own as what they really are: other countries. You don't have to project your personal set of cultural values on every aspect of their society all the time. We understand that you demand the highest of morals in the country that you live in.

Moderator: Other countries are irrelevant.

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Now that The Cove has been revealed to the world with a well-deserved Oscar

Oh please. Atleast half of the world's population has problems as to how to make ends meet. I am not sure even, if they know the cove or the oscar.

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It was great to hear that that Japanese Fisheries deputy got the ax. He actually claimed that the dolphins died a quick death never realizing that the brutal slaughter was on film. Then they clipped his hair and discovered mercury is in his system. HA!

Hopefully, we all stop paying to see dolphins leap out of the water in captivity. Let them be free and stop going to Disney Sea and all the other places that hold them.

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smithinjapan: Here's what I say they do to end the whole affair: 1) the Mayor opens 'the cove' to the public, so they can view the slaughter in its full. If they don't want to, of course they don't have to. Simple as that. 2) the mercury level of a slaughtered dolphin is checked, in full view of camera, and processed. Regardless of the outcome, and the fishermen must be told of the levels, the fishermen must feed it, in front of camera, to both themselves and their children, and grandchildren -- as much as any regular customer or school lunch child would ingest. If they refuse, or are found to spit it out or what have you, the slaughter is stopped. If the ALL eat it up with relish, then they continue with no criticism. Sounds fair enough to me.

Have you been to Taiji or are you just making things up for your own satisfaction?

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to critisize Taiji and other countries for what they have been doing for generations is taking it too far.

Multi-generational occurrence does not provide immunity to criticism.

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Multi-generational occurrence does not provide immunity to criticism.

Nor does it warrent the bashing from people from other countries to force what is right or acceptable in 'thier' eyes.

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Papawhale: will come to their senses and stop the slaughter.

You guys have still not given a reason to why this animal should be saved?

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KingRat: "We understand that you demand the highest of morals in the country that you live in."

I suppose I should demand the worst?

"Have you been to Taiji or are you just making things up for your own satisfaction?"

You saw my challenge, and you've seen the links to articles that post the mercury levels as fact, so what's your problem? Do you think my challenge to the fishermen of Taiji is unrealistic? If they won't feed their children their catch in front of live camera, why should ANYONE else buy/eat it, and condone what they do if the claim it is safe? If they do feed their kids/grandkids what they catch, I say let them continue doing it. What's the problem? and what's with your ranting about other countries?

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KingRat: But here, let me post it again for you anyway, my friend, since you seem to think I'm making things up:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090923f2.html

Let me guess, though... you're just going to disappear.

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Hopefully, we all stop paying to see dolphins leap out of the water in captivity. Let them be free and stop going to Disney Sea and all the other places that hold them.

Uh, since when has DisneySea ever had dolphins. As far as I know, they don't. You must be thinking about Walt Disney World Epcot Center in Florida.

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smithinjapan: You saw my challenge, and you've seen the links to articles that post the mercury levels as fact, so what's your problem? Do you think my challenge to the fishermen of Taiji is unrealistic?

On any health aspect every mercury argument is of course valid.

But you have other agendas that are annoyingly in all threads. Do you remember the thread about the Chinese visit? Even when you agree to the Japanese government reacting correctly you deem it a failure. It's so obvious you have the biggest beef on Japan that it's hard to read you objectively. Mabye you just have to accept that Japan does not compare to your set of a perfect society.

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You know that's not going to happen. If any of you should know by now is that Japan isn't going to be pressured into changing anything unless it does so itself. I personally have mixed feelings on this matter. I don't condone the way in which they kill the dolphins but I am trying to see this from their perspective as well. The question now is how much of the population actually accepts this practice vs those which do not? Any outside interference is going to be looked at negatively and will only create more problems then it solves. I have to agree that this film will do nothing to help the cause regardless of what many of you may think.

This is Japan after and no amount of outside pressure is going to change that view. It really is going to be up to the Japanese people themselves to decide on this matter like it or not. The Cove would have been better received in Japan if it wasn't so one sided. This will just force Japan back onto it's xenophobic tendencies without offering any real solutions. Threats don't make progress as that might work in the west but has little effect here. The only real hope at this point is convincing the Japanese public that dolphins are unsuitable for human consumption. Good luck at that as The Cove has pretty much put a nail in the coffin of any real dialog anytime soon.

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Kill dolphins from flocks with acceptable concentration of mercury in their blood. Problem solved.

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KingRat: I notice you could not answer a single of my questions. No surprise. What little credibility you ever had has now been proven to have disappeared. I answered all your questions. You can only continue to deflect when asked yourself. Joke's on you, bud. But one more question for you -- have you seen the movie? Would you eat Taiji 'whale'? if so, can you send definitive proof?

Oops. That's three (more you won't answer). :)

I'm looking forward to watching it, and will definitely buy an overseas copy.

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KingRat: What does nationality matter? You've already spent the majority of your time undermining your own arguments by claiming I'm comparing it to 'my perfect country', so now you're telling me you don't even know what that is? HA! Just goes to show you it doesn't matter -- regardless of where I'm from, the facts remain the same in Taiji, and you cannot defend it. You can do some simple digging of course to find out where I'm from, but I doubt that's going to help you defend what's depicted in the Oscar winning The Cove.

Come on, bud... answer my questions... if you can bother to stay on topic.

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National Geographic: "In the end, it might be Japanese consumers who stop the Taiji hunt. Activists, scientists, and the Japanese press have documented high levels of mercury contamination in Japan's dolphins. The Cove features Oregon State University marine biologist Scott Baker, a past National Geographic Society grantee who tested Japanese striped dolphin meat and reported in 2005 it had nearly a hundred times the amount of mercury permitted by Japanese regulations."

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Tigerlily4: Thanks for that. Might get lost on some here, though, who simply think you are attacking Japanese culture.

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Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.

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“There are different food traditions within Japan and around the world,” the statement read. “It is important to respect and understand regional food cultures, which are based on traditions with long histories.”

This argument is lame.

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Only recently Japanese scientists published new findings that show mercury levels in citizens of the Japanese whaling town Taiji up to 25 times higher than Japan’s average.

http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/news/news.cgi?t=template&a=580&source=

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If the Japanese people were dropping like flies by eating toxic dolphin meat then maybe it may be a different story. If that happens dolphin meat would be outlaw and only a tiny segment of the Japanese people would continue to eat it because of tradition like once a year.

medievaltimes said,

“There are different food traditions within Japan and around the world,” the statement read. “It is important to respect and understand regional food cultures, which are based on traditions with long histories.” This argument is lame.

I agree with that statement.

Several Japanese who appear in the film, including Ryono the councilman, and Tetsuya Endo, an associate professor at Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, say they were lied to about its subject matter beforehand.

Join the club of those who have been manipulated by the media, reporters, and documentary in order to write a juicy story that will captive an audience and sway people opinions toward their side of the debate.

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If the Japanese people were dropping like flies

that's just it Skip we have no idea of the side effects from eating dolphin meat because there have been no studies to date, except the few hair samples taken recently in Taiji. And why were these samples taken? Gov't concerned about the populace? Regulatory agencies doing their job? No, some nosy gaijin had the gall to make a documentary. Compare this with the Faroe islanders who also have a long history of dolphin drive hunts. The medical officers for the islands did complete medical tests on all residents and recommended that the hunts be stopped because of the high amounts of PCB's and methyl mercury in the meat from the same species that the Taiji fisherman send to market. Following these studies it came out that the islanders had a higher rate of birth defects and learning disabilites in their children.

Ryono the councilman

For those interested go to the Japan Times site and do a search of Mr. Ryono. You'll see his picture in the summer of '06 after talking to the press about wanting dolphin meat taken off the menu in Taiji schools. After hearing about the tests done by the makers of the Cove, who were in Taiji at the time, he did his own tests and was shocked to learn that the foreingers were not lying about the results. Mr. Ryono and another councilman were the first to break ranks with city officials and the fisheries union. Seems Mr. Ryono doesn't want his children to eat dolphin meat, but he has no problem with unsuspecting customers buying it.

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Just because these people have been hunting dolphins and whales since the 1600s does not mean that they can continue to ignore the rest of the real world of the 21st century. Its not on any more.

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The effects of hundreds of years of toxic eating practices are very clear within Japanese society. People's teeth, atopy, autism, minor and major birth defects can all be linked to ingestion of heavy metals from seafood

Hmmm. Now that you've mentioned it, I've always wondered about many a Japanese girl's teeth...

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Ummmmm umm, dolphin, the other, other white meat

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I wonder if after the announcement of the Cove winning, the fishermen of Taiji went into a frenzy and repeatedly grunted, stabbed and slashed at anything in their path with whatever was in their had at the time (i.e, chopsticks, bento, meiji chocolate, etc) for a good 5 minutes...

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Just because these people have been hunting dolphins and whales since the 1600s does not mean that they can continue to ignore the rest of the real world of the 21st century. Its not on any more.

I laugh about all these "traditional" habits that the Japanese feel that they are entitled to enjoy.

to quote from Isabella Bird's 'Unbeaten Tracks in Japan',

The shops, such as they are, contain the barest necessaries of life. Millet and buckwheat rather than rice, with the universal daikon, are the staples of the diet...These people never know anything of what we regard as comfort, and in the long winter...the families huddle round the smoky fire...their condition must be as miserable as anything short of grinding poverty can make it.

The traditional diet...the traditional house...how the Japanese must long for these things.

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According to one of my Japanese friends these fishermen are comparable to yakuza and burakumin and need to be reeducated. They don't know how to change their way of life. I like dolphins too but if they are that intelligent how come they get trapped so easily?

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@Ah so: I've read Bird's book as well and her travels were from Edo to Niigata and then up the interior of Japan towards Hokkaido. You forget to conveniently mention the diversity of what people ate and their lifestyles depending on region which is also mentioned in her book. I can assure you if she had traveled up the Pacific coast of Japan such as where I live in Chiba she would have encountered a much different lifestyle and foods such as abundant seafood than the remote mountain villages she encountered in the interior of Japan with little or no access to the sea. Taiji style hunting of dolphins was also done in Chiba for thousands of years according to a museum I visited and to this day you can purchase dolphin from select fish markets on the Sotobo of Chiba. However, personally I prefer whale and dolphin is considered an inferior quality meat compared to whale and a bit gamier tasting according to whale lovers.

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@Ah_so, "I laugh about all these "traditional" habits that the Japanese feel that they are entitled to enjoy."

I don't see the humor. I believe if people believe their way of life (jobs) is attacked they would feel the same way as the dolphin hunters. It is a natural response from people. The movie is about destroying the Taiji way of life (traditions) in order to save the dolphins and people who should not eat toxic dolphin meats. The movie is biased because the authors only wanted to address the issue from their perspective and a picture(s) is/are worth a thousands words.

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Ummmmm umm, dolphin, the other, other white meat

It's not white; that's just the glow of heavy metals.

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There are pros and cons to traditions. My point is that anyone who feels their life is endanger will obvious fight back. Sometimes it takes someone to tell them what they are doing is wrong in order for change to happen. How that is done or to go about is debatable.

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The people of Taiji should build a factory or something to make money and sustain their economy. The government should use the taxpayer's money in order to think of an alternative industry for this town. It would be well-spent and thus get rid of this cruelty to the dolphins.

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The people of Taiji should build a factory or something to make money and sustain their economy.

flavorflav: I understand what you are saying. If their dolphin and whaling industry is ditched (which it should), a factory or some kind of materials production industry would be the best bet. After all, based on the topography of Taiji, it is not suitable for agriculture which would be economically stable. Then again, I have a feeling that factories built may pollute the waters around that area, so it wouldn't really be an environmental solution. Maybe spending some taxpayer's money for some oyster farms, or kelp farms, or something like that. In any case, something needs to be done to get rid of the dolphin hunts.

I believe if people believe their way of life (jobs) is attacked they would feel the same way as the dolphin hunters.

That is an interesting point, skipbeat. Heavy handed tactics may not be the best way after all. To simply say stop without presenting alternatives or solutions will only lead to more anger on both sides. There will have to come a time when both sides meet in the middle and reach some sort of agreement.

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I wonder if after the announcement of the Cove winning, the fishermen of Taiji went into a frenzy and repeatedly grunted, stabbed and slashed at anything in their path with whatever was in their had at the time (i.e, chopsticks, bento, meiji chocolate, etc) for a good 5 minutes...

lol ;D

and @Skipbeat. I agree with ya! I'm studying anthropology and changing some culture by force will only lead to unbelievable scale of resistance. If you want to change any culture without bloodshed, do one thing that worked: introduce something new wich is more interesting

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I find it ironic that hunting non endangered dolphins is such a big deal. Culture imperialism anyone? I also bet the people of Taiji have a healthier diet than the majority of hormones injected junk food eating Americans. Look at them, most people in USA are fat.

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I watched the Cove the other nightat my neighbours with my husband. My god, it was horrific,even my husband who is very care free was upset by it.

If the people of Taiji want to make a living this way, then they should be open to scrutiny. What`s wrong with that. They are getting too upset if they really think they are in the right.

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seen it broke my heart

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Dokachin,

I like dolphins too but if they are that intelligent how come they get trapped so easily? One of the reason why the Taiji dolphin-fishing is so scrutinized is because of the way they trap them. Dolphins have very strong social network, and the young ones are always protected by the adult dolphins in the group. The fishermen use this connection by trapping one young dolphin, then the adult dolphins swim in to save their young. It's heart-wrenching to watch.

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This whole fuss and documentary on Taiji hunts is so unneccessary. The majority of Japanese people have either never had dolphin or eat it only occassinally when its available and typically only folks that have traditionally eaten it in coastal fishing areas. I am sure the average life span and health of a Taiji native is better than that of the U.S. average so concern for their health is really secondary for production of this film. They really want to stop the traditional slaughter of dolphins for consumption and shed this in a negative light as possible. Perhaps viewing the slaughter of dolphins for consumption purposes is certainly not enjoyable but so is any other life form that is slaughtered for food.

The thing that strikes me as so unfair and biased is that it was mostly the Western nations that caused the great decline of modern day marine mammals hunting them solely for oil. Although, personally I like dolphins and don't enjoy the taste of their meat I don't have the right to tell others who occassionally partake in dolphin as long as its done in a sustainable manner that doesn't threaten the survival of the species. The mercury in the dolphin meat is another thing but that really is up to Japan and the people who want to eat it to thoroughly investigate the risks.

This so called "Love Letter to Japan" is demeaning and undignified to our people and culture. What a few fishermen do in our coastal waters in their traditional ways is our business and most Westerners would agree they would not want others to forcibly place their religious or cultural values on them in their own country.

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slaughter of dolphins for consumption and shed this in a negative light as possible.

Well I've tried, and I cannot for the life of me imagine how anyone could shed a positive light on it....

Perhaps viewing the slaughter of dolphins for consumption purposes is certainly not enjoyable but so is any other life form that is slaughtered for food

I would welcome an Oscar-winning documentary that put the inside of the factory-farms and the abattoir on the screen for all to see.

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For anyone who thinks that the people who made The Cove would have better spent their time looking at abattoirs, circuses, zoos and the like, well that ground's being covered (see Food Inc, Earthlings, etc).

I will be interviewing the star (Ric O'Barry) and director (Louie Psihoyos) of The Cove tomorrow. If you have a question you'd like to ask either or both of them, please email it to thecove@japan-zone.com. Please provide a first name and country at least, but let me know if you DON'T want me to use your name. I'll be giving preference to people who are in Japan, and (despite my own views) I won't be choosing questions based on any bias. I'll be putting the interviews, along with articles about Taiji and The Cove, on Japan Zone as soon as I can.

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Japan should realize that racism by Western nations is nothing new and we were the first country that proposed articles dedicated to the elimination of racial discrimination to be added to the rules of the League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. This was the first proposal concerning the international elimination of racial discrimination in the world. Uhm, Nihonryu, you do realize that almost a century later Japan STILL doesn't have a law against racial discrimination?

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Ask them if they eat animals? Or if it is just pilot whales they got something against NagoyaOya-san. If they are not vegeterians ask if they would be interested in eating some whale meat? I know of a great restaurant in the heart of Shitamachi Tokyo in Asakusa.

Also, tell them. I hope people in Taiji will continue hunting pilot whales in the future just so that they can use the dolhpin meat as fertilizer for organic vegetables.

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The fishermen are rightly angered by the film. The filmmakers are hypocritical.

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I am sure the average life span and health of a Taiji native is better than that of the U.S. average so concern for their health is really secondary for production of this film.

Then why did Taiji city officials take dolphin meat off the school menu? After reconfirming the methyl mercury numbers published by the makers of the Cove?

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Pilot whales are better for your health than fast food and an American diet. According to Health Canada.

*A Health Canada study released this month points to high levels of cadmium and mercury in many of the animals upon which traditional Inuit depend for sustenance. But despite the toxins, nutritional experts and Health Canada agree: a steady diet of meats and fats from the ringed seal and beluga whale still does more good than harm. "The nutritional value of our country foods probably overrides the danger of the pollutants that are in them," Day said in a phone interview from Inuvik, about 2,000 meters northwest of Edmonton. "If would take a lot of proof that it is harming us before we would give up our way of life, our way of eating."

A western-based diet - which includes everything form fast food to the standard Christmas meal - might be worse for the Inuit than eating toxin-laced country food.

"What was more important was the concern about malnutrition from foods imported form the West, because it's not as nutritious as whales and seals," said Leslie Whitby of Indian and Northern Affairs. Rather than have the Inuit eat food that would pose a known health risk, it made more sense to let them maintain their traditional diets, Whitby said.*

Pilot whales or no pilot whales, experts who are not overly cultural imperialists agree that pilot whales are better for you than Mc Donalds and other fast food. In Iceland where people eat a lot of whale meat life expectancy is 2nd in the world after Japan.

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Chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands have recommended that pilot whales no longer be considered fit for human consumption, because they are toxic - as revealed by research on the Faroes themselves

But today in a statement to the islanders, chief medical officers Pál Weihe and Høgni Debes Joensen announced that pilot whale meat and blubber contains too much mercury, PCBs and DDT derivatives to be safe for human consumption.

The work has revealed damage to fetal neural development, high blood pressure, and impaired immunity in children, as well as increased rates of Parkinson's disease, circulatory problems and possibly infertility in adults. The Faroes data renewed concerns about low-level mercury exposures elsewhere.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16159-faroe-islanders-told-to-stop-eating-toxic-whales.html

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are you actually comparing toxic meat and beer? really?

Look, the medical officers of the Faroes, who probably have hunted and eaten pilot whale themselves, have cautioned their fellow countrymen from doing the same for very good reasons. Do you have any children? Would you want them to eat this meat knowing the dangers? Even the people of Taiji decided to take dolphin off of the school lunch menu. Yes it's true some Faroe Islanders still hunt pilot whales, but far fewer than before. And they do so with the full knowledge of the possible consequences. The Taiji fisherman don't want their children eating it, but they want to sell it to others, mislabeled without any warning of the danger. Sorry dude but I find that unacceptable. And the fact is that there are only 20 fisherman involved in the drive hunts in Taiji. Only 20 out of a town of 3,500. I know for a fact that there are members of the town who do not support the hunt, but who remain silent. I have much more respect for the Faroe Islanders who do not hide behind blue tarps. They have a much better claim to culture. The Taiji dolphin hunts are about money, culture is a distant third cousin. Take away the economic incentive and they might kill 50-100 a year. That would more than feed those who still eat it.

“Moreover,” says Mayor Sangen, “I don’t think that people will eat dolphin meat much longer. The younger generation is not used to it. It is taboo to say this, but I believe it will end within ten years.”

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No matter what Thousand words we say, the fact is there: it's killing and it's wrong.

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Let them eat!

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The film is nothing but a political vehicle.

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As for eating whale meat, why not??? And yes, dolphins are whales, so labelling the meat as such is not deceptive. Lamb is mutton, too. The parts of the movie I saw were indeed disturbing to me. But if I saw a film about slaughtering a cow I would feel the same. We like to live in denial. The film is a political tool being used to promulgate the social mores of one society. Hollywood bullying. It stinks of American self-righteousness.

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